The 21st edition of the V-Power Shell Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally gets under way today.
The two-day event is the fifth round of Africa Rally Championship (ARC) and fourth round of the National Rally Championship (NRC).
After the scrutineering of the machines at Shell Bugolobi yesterday, it’s turn for the drivers to show their class starting with the Super Special Stage (SSS) at the Uganda Sports Arena, Busiika today.
All eyes will be on Kenyan driver Manvir Baryan and his British navigator Drew Sturrock in Skoda Fabia R5. The Multiple Racing Team (MRT) crew will be attempting to become the first driver to win the Pearl Rally for three straight years.
Designed for small machines
However, Ugandan drivers have been ‘making noise’ about the route being favourable to all cars thus denying that Skoda has an advantage.
But at Busiika, there is no denying that Skoda will have a slight advantage at the tight track and Arthur Blick Jr, the 2015 national champions concurs.
“The Busiika track is designed for small cars like Skoda and Subaru N14. They negotiate the twists and turns much easier than our cars (Evo X),” explained Blick Jr, who will be navigated by George Semakula in a Shell Helix-sponsored Mitsubishi Evo X.
“The Busiika track is tailor-made for Skoda, we can only capitalise on his mistakes. Day Two in Kayunga will be different, however.”
Yassin Nasser of Moil Rally Team driving a Subaru GVB R4 is looking forward to the event but cannot predict the outcome.
“I can only say we are ready to go and have fun but be competitive as well,” said Nasser, who lies fifth in the NRC title race with 145 points.
Pili Pili Rally Team crew of Jas Mangat and Joseph Kamya in Evo X are hoping safety measures are in place.
The event has a total of 453.62 kilometres of which 199.82 kilometers is spread over nine competitive sections. Over 40 drivers will get off the ramp in this edition of Uganda’s most coveted rallying showpiece.
SHELL V-POWER PEARL RALLY 2019
*Manvir Baryan (Kenya) 176 points
*Leroy Gomes (Zambia) 88
*Baldev Chager (Kenya) 56
*Ronald Sebuguzi 240 points
*Hassan Alwi 180
*Jas Mangat 160
*Ponsiano Lwakataka 160
*Yasin Nasser 145
*Christakis Fitidis 135
provisional start list
*Hassan Alwi/Sirajh Kyambadde
*Manvir Baryan/ Dew Sturrock
*Kephar Walubi/ Asuman Muhamadi
*Unisan Bakunda/ Umar Kakande
*Christakis Fitidis/ Eric Nzamwita
*Dharam Pandya/ Ratnaveer Darbar
*Ronald Ssebuguzi/ Leon Ssenyange
*Jas Mangat/ Joseph Kamya
*Duncan Mubiru/ Musa Nsubuga
*Omar Mayanja/ Hussein Mukuye